Quick Cinnamon Brioche Rolls

Source: Always Leave Room for Dessert

Quick Cinnamon Brioche Rolls
(adapted form Cook's Illustrated)
makes 12 rolls

2 1/2 tsp (1 envelope) dry active yeast
1/2 Cup (120ml) whole milk, warmed to approximately 110˚F
2 1/4 Cups (320g) all-purpose flour
6 Tbsp (90g) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 Tbsp (45g) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs

1/2 Cup (113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 Cup (100g) dark brown sugar
1 tsp (5g) cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract
1 Cup (75g) walnuts

Begin by making the sponge: in a small bowl, whisk together the yeast and the milk, then stir in 1 Cup (142g) of the flour. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a draft-free area.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine butter, sugar and salt until well blended and smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, processing after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the workbowl and process again for several seconds until well blended. Don't worry if the mixture looks curdled at this point. Add the remaining 1 1/4 Cups (178g) of flour and process in 1-second pulses until thoroughly combined. Finally, add in the sponge, and pulse again until a smooth dough forms. Then process continuously for 15 seconds. The dough will be quite sticky at this point.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and gently knead until smooth and elastic. Form into a smooth, round ball and place in a large, buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a slightly damp towel and let the dough rise for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.

While the dough is rising, make the filling. In a small bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, spices, salt and vanilla, and whisk until fluffy. In a saute pan over medium heat, toast the walnuts, being careful not to let them burn. The nuts are done when they are fragrant and lightly toasted. Immediately remove the nuts from the pan, onto a chopping board and allow them to cool slightly. Finely chop the walnuts, and set aside. Generously butter a 9x13 baking pan and set aside.

Once the dough has doubled in size, turn the dough out onto generously floured surface. Gently knead the dough and roll it out into a large rectangle, roughly 12 inches x 18 inches. Spread the cinnamon butter mixture evenly over the dough, leaving about 1 inch of dough along the top, so the roll can be sealed. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the butter spread and gently press the nuts into the mixture. Gently roll up the dough until you are close to the clean edge of the dough. Using your fingers and cold water and wet the clean edge of the dough, then finish rolling up the dough, and pinch along the seam to create a seal. Using very gentle pressure and a serrated knife, cut the dough log in half, and then cut each half into half again. Finally, cut each section into three rolls, and place each pice, cut side up, into the buttered baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap or a lightly damp towel and allow to rise for about 45-60 minutes.

Move oven rack to the center position and preheat oven to 350˚F. Bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer reads 180˚F when inserted into the center of the pan. Turn pan upside down onto a service plate and immediately remove the baking pan. Allow the rolls to cool for 5-10 minutes before devouring.